HBCUs Take Over the White House

Written by Kyrah Page

Photo taken by White House photographer

I had the incredible privilege to represent the illustrious Lincoln University on February 23 in an exclusive White House HBCU student press briefing. This briefing was organized and conducted by the Biden-Harris administration to encourage, support, and promote HBCUs and give HBCU students a voice. Keisha Lance Bottoms, the senior advisor to the president for public engagement, served as the event’s host, and the elegant Vice President Kamala Harris paid us a special visit. I, along with many other talented students, was invited to represent a total of 47 HBCUs. Prior to the briefing, we were instructed to submit a question of our choice and the White House would respond there at that moment. Due to the allowance of time in her schedule, Vice President Harris also came prepared to answer a few of our questions. My question was also geared toward funding for Black-owned small businesses. More specifically, how the administration was planning to make resources for small businesses more attainable through larger banking institutions. Considering that minority businesses are not supported my question was about how small minority businesses can survive a capitalistic economy. 

Unfortunately, everyone was not able to have their question answered, myself included but all was not lost. Despite my question not being answered I was able to hear Ms. Bottoms’ responses to many other amazing questions about topics like funding for HBCUs, diversity, equity, and inclusion funds, resources for graduate HBCU students who are wanting to pursue their master’s degree in mental health, funding for Black-owned small businesses and many more! 

Photo taken by White House photographer

Apart from the actual briefing the experience in and of itself was enough to make me happy. I was given an opportunity not many people could have. Being able to go to the White House was a huge deal for me and this experience is one I will cherish forever. However, I think the true highlight of my experience was Black excellence right there in front of me. Seeing sophisticated Black students in suits, pants suits, and dresses. Seeing Black students coming prepared to represent their schools and themselves so beautifully. That right there was the highlight of my experience. Oftentimes we see Black people portrayed so negatively, especially in the media but we now have a moment in history where well-dressed, intelligent Black students are coming from elite and illustrious Historically Black Colleges and Universities and are entering the biggest house in the United States. We are entering and voicing our concerns to two powerful Black women and opening doors for HBCUs and their students. I feel lucky that I was able to meet Kamala Harris, specifically, who is not just the Vice President of the United States but a Black HBCU-educated woman making history for us young Black women.

Overall, I am elated to have been chosen for this opportunity. I learned so much from this experience and I am so appreciative of the exposure, the people I have met, and the eye-opening conversation we had in that room. This life-changing experience is a huge win for Black HBCU-educated men and women! This was for us…

Photos taken by White House photographer

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